Reformed Church Center Events
RCA History Day
Saturday, September 23, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Open to the Whole Community
The Reformed Church Center and the Archives of the Reformed Church in America will be hosting the first-ever “RCA History Day” at New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
The day will celebrate history in both formal and informal ways. RCA History day is for the whole community–not just the RCA and not just church. It’s an opportunity to learn about digitization of materials (records, video, photos, etc.), meet with a representative of a digitization vendor who can help with the preservation of family items, hear about stained glass windows and how to care for them, meet with a stained glass professional to ask about your own glass work (bring pictures), visit the seminary and Sage Library (acknowledged as the most beautiful library in the state), hear two prominent scholars talk about the Reformation from both a Protestant and a Roman Catholic perspective, and enjoy a variety of other historical fun.
Through the morning—10:00 am to 12:00 noon—participants may rotate through a variety of presentations;
- Preserve Your Memories: Digital Memory Media will be present to provide their services with scanning videos, photos, papers, and any other material for attendees. People may bring the materials with them to drop off with DMM or talk with the representatives to get estimates and suggestions for the best procedure to move precious memories from paper or video tape to digital formats.. To be better informed, attendees may view their website at https://dmmem.com/.
- Stained Glass Care & Handling: Representatives from J & R Lamb Studios, Inc., will review the history of stained glass from the early centuries to today, and discuss why stained glass has been used in religious edifices then and now. Then there will be a discussion of the responsibilities of stewards of these beautiful sacred arts. A checklist for examining windows will be distributed, highlighting how to look for signs of needed repairs and what should be done to make corrections.
- Rutgers Oral History Archives: the director of the oral history archive at Rutgers University will be here to talk about their work and how they document New Jersey history through their extensive program. The director will explain how more than 800 life stories and over 32,000 pages of transcripts offer excellent resources for history. This Archive has also started collecting oral histories of NBTS faculty. See more about them at: http://oralhistory.rutgers.edu/
- What to Do With Records: Russell Gasero, RCA Archivist, will be available to answer questions and offer guidance about how to care for local church records as well as personal papers.
- Look Around Historic Sage Library: Gardner A. Sage Library, identified by Tech Insider as the most architecturally beautiful in New Jersey as part of a national survey, will be open for tours through the morning.
At noon, a buffet lunch will be served. This is free for all visitors, although donations to defray the cost will be accepted.
After lunch Dennis Tamburello and Allan Janssen will present “True Confessions: Reformed and Roman Catholic Reflections on the Reformation on its 500th Anniversary.”
Fr. Dennis Tamburello is Professor of Religious Studies at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, where he teaches courses in theology and the history of Christianity. A part-time prison chaplain for the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, he holds a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from the University of Chicago, and is the author of Union with Christ: John Calvin and the Mysticism of St. Bernard (Westminster John Knox Press, 1994), Ordinary Mysticism (Paulist Press, 1996), and Bernard of Clairvaux: Essential Writings (Crossroad Publishing Co., 2000). He is currently working on a new book for Paulist Press, 101 Questions and Answers on the Reformation.
The Rev. Allan Janssen is Affiliate Professor of Theological Studies at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, where he teaches RCA polity and doctrinal standards as well as “Theology in Traditions and Contexts.” He is the author, editor, and translator of several books, most recently Confessing the Faith Today: A Fresh Look at the Belgic Confession (Wipf and Stock, 2017) and A Ministry of Reconciliation: Essays ion Honor of Gregg Mast (Eerdmans, 2017).
Both Tamburello and Janssen are members of the current (eighth) round of the national Reformed-Roman Catholic Ecumenical Dialogue, which is focused on ministry and episcopacy.
Reservations for the day are not required, and the entire day is open to everyone, but we would appreciate responses from those who think they may be attending the lunch, in order to allow for a proper headcount. Just respond by e-mail to email@example.com.
A Discussion of Slavery at the Roots of NBTS History
Tuesday, October 17, 4:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Especially in the events of recent days, we are reminded of Edmund Burke’s words: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” As Christians, we are called again and again to remember all we have gotten wrong—both as individuals and as a society—so that we may be forgiven and move forward working toward justice and wholeness.
Black slavery is part of the history of New Brunswick Seminary and Rutgers University. Slaves and slaveholders were involved in the start of both the schools. The “Scarlet and Black” project at Rutgers has been studying this history, and Dr. John Coakley, professor emeritus of Church History at NBTS, has been representing the Seminary.
On Tuesday, October 17, beginning at 4:30 pm, Dr. Kendra Boyd, the Postdoctoral Associate for the Scarlet and Black Project, will present “Scarlet and Black: Slavery and Dispossession in Rutgers History,” sharing the work the project has done to date and the direction of its future work, followed by questions and discussion over dinner.
Kendra Boyd holds a Ph.D. in African American History and United States History from Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and previously received a B.S. in Business Administration from Wayne State University. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, “The Great Migration and Black Entrepreneurship in Detroit.” As the Postdoctoral Associate for Rutgers’s Scarlet and Black Project, Boyd administers and supervises research on the history of African Americans in Rutgers History.
The entire Seminary community, along with people from Rutgers and area congregations, is invited to this program hosted by the Anti-Racism Transformation Team and the Reformed Church Center. There is a suggested donation of $15.00 for dinner, but it is free for NBTS students, faculty, and staff. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, October 12.
Conversation Around Baptism
Thursday, December 7 – 4:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. in Hageman Hall
All Christians get baptized; it is one of the central realities of our faith, an act upon which we can all agree. Except that some of us baptize infants and some of us only baptize adult believers. In a world where people of different denominations and even faith traditions interact, and especially in a seminary where people of many different denominations interact, the subject of when people should be baptized can lead to spirited discussions.
On Thursday, December 7, at 4:00 pm, the Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary will host a “Conversation Around Baptism,” particularly around when we believe people should be baptized and why. Theologians representing both infant and believer baptism traditions will present their understandings, and then we will all participate in discussion over dinner, wrapping up around 6:00. The suggested donation for dinner is $15.00, but it is free for NBTS students, faculty, and staff. RSVP to email@example.com by Monday, December 4.
“Everybody at the Table,” a Multi-Cultural Worship Workshop
For more info about this event, please click here.
Thursday, March 16, 10:00 am in New Brunswick
The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Pastor of Middle Collegiate Church in NYC and 2016-17 Poppen-Young Scholar at NBTS will present the annual Poppen-Young lecture: “For the Healing of the Nations: Love, multicultural worship, and Creating a New American Story.”
Our world is a wonderful mix of cultures, languages, abilities, and orientations. Travel up and down any city street and you will see all sorts of people and shops, hear voices in different languages, and smell an array of fragrant foods from a world’s worth of restaurants. Our differing backgrounds and abilities and perspectives, melded together, make us stronger.
For generations, churches have been the one place that has been homogenous. It has been said that eleven o’clock on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour of the week. But even that is changing in more and more congregations. People of different races, languages, and abilities are getting together for worship as they do for all of life.
On Thursday, March 16, the Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Theological Seminary will celebrate this blending in “Everybody at the Table,” a workshop looking at how we are joining together, and how we can cross even more cultural barriers.
|The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister at Middle Collegiate Church, a 900-member multiracial, welcoming, and inclusive congregation in New York City, and the first African American and first woman to serve as a senior minister in the Collegiate Church, will present the 2017-18 Poppen-Young Fellowship lecture: “For the Healing of the Nations: Love, multicultural worship, and Creating a New American Story.” There is no question that something is broken in America: our hearts, our dreams, our sense of civility. Worship “stories” God’s plan for a healthy and whole world. Worship puts love, period, on the line as a balm in Gilead. This practical talk will show and tell how multicultural worship can change the story from broken to whole.|
|The Rev. Jill Fenske, child of God, pastor of the Franklin Reformed Church in Nutley, New Jersey, poet, wife and mother, life-long learner, volunteer chaplain at Camp Sunrise, promoter of dialogue and committed follower of Jesus, will share her experiences of including differently-abled people in worship.|
|The Rev. Vicente Martinez, pastor of the Reformed Church of North Brunswick—the Sanctuary in North Brunswick, New Jersey, chaplain for the Port Authority Police of New York and New Jersey and the New Brunswick Police Department, and lecturer on urban ministry and non-profit initiatives in the US and the Caribbean, will share the story of helping a primarily mono-cultural suburban, Caucasian congregation become bi-lingual and multi-cultural.|
|The Rev. James Hart Brumm, director of the Reformed Church Center, moderator of the Commission on History of the Reformed Church in America, and a teacher on worship and congregational song known across North America, will lead us in worship and a discussion of the theology behind using songs from all cultures.|
The workshop will begin at 10:00 am on Thursday, March 16—registration, coffee, and tea will be available beginning at 9:30 am—and everyone should be on their way home by about 2:00 pm. Registration is free for everyone, and lunch is free for NBTS students, faculty, and staff. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, 13 March.
“Confessing the Faith Today”
What does it mean to be Confessing the Faith Today?
“To all appearances the old Standards have largely fallen into disuse in the church.” This assertion is made by Allan Janssen, affiliate associate professor of theology at NBTS. In his new book, Confessing the Faith Today, he observes that “one hears little reference to the Belgic Confession . . . in ecclesiastical discussions.” Still, Janssen sees this oldest Reformed confession as something valuable for a church engaging the Word and the contemporary U.S. situation.
We discussed this new book and the place of the Belgic Confession in the 21st century at the gathering “Confessing the Faith Today” on Monday, February 13, 2017. Dr. Janssen made a brief presentation about the book and its approach, followed by responses to his work by four pastoral theologians. Watch the video below, and scroll down for more info about the participants.
|Cora Tait, a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary and New Brunswick Theological Seminary, is pastor of Highbridge Community Church (RCA) in the Bronx.|
|Joshua Bode is pastor of Woodstock (New York) Reformed Church and a graduate of Western Theological Seminary. He is a past moderator of the RCA Commission on Church Order.|
|Lynn Japinga is Professor of Religion at Hope College, and a graduate of Princeton and Union (NY) Theological Seminaries. She is the author of Loyalty and Loss: The Reformed Church in America, 1945-1994. Her book Preaching the Women of the Old Testament: Who They Were and Why They Matter, is scheduled for publication in 2017.|
|Jaeseung Cha is Associate Professor of Foundational and Constructive Theology at NBTS.|
“Our Only Comfort: Belonging in the RCA.”
In the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism, Reformed Christians say that our only comfort in life and in death is that we belong to Jesus Christ. In question and answer number 32, we say that we are called Christians because, by faith, we are members of Christ. Membership and how we understand it is important to our Reformed understanding of the church and the world.
On Thursday, 6 October, 2016, the Reformed Church Center at New Brunswick Seminary hosted “Our Only Comfort: Belonging in the RCA.”
Dirk Mouw, historian, translator and a fellow of the Reformed Church Center, presented the 2016-17 Albert A. Smith lecture in RCA History; his topic was how the colonial Dutch Reformed Church understood church membership.
Following that were presentations on the experience of becoming members of the RCA for Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans by:
- Irving Rivera–pastor of Meadow Hill Reformed Church in Newburgh, NY, and past president of the General Synod of the RCA
- En Young Kim–RCA Supervisor of Mission in Asia and the Pacific and Coordinator for Pacific and Asian -American Ministries
- Anna Jackson–pastor of the Reformed Church of Queens, NY, and moderator of the board of trustees at NBTS.
The day concluded with group discussion over lunch of what membership means in the modern RCA and how we grow into new understandings based on our experiences.